Monday, 17 December 2012

Engines Must Not Enter the Potato Siding

I'm delighted to pass on the news that the legendary 1969 Tuesday Documentary made by the BBC is now available on BBC iPlayer as an official programme and the poor quality timecoded rip off 'leaked' on to Ebay is now obsolete (though grateful thanks to whoever it was that put it up there at the time!)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The BFI have released an official copy of Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (1955) to Youtube.

Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (1955)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Automatic Fare Collection and You (1969)

To help market the launch of the latest BFI DVD compilation - London on the Move, the BFI have posted Automatic Fare Collection and You (1969) on YouTube....

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Re-Shaping British Railways

This article was taken from 'Industrial Screen' magazine - May 1963 - and offers an interesting insight into the distribution and screening of this important film for the rail industry staff.


A twenty-three minute visual version of the  British Railways Board ('Beeching') Report was recently made by British Transport Films. The film used contemporary and historical scenes, maps, animated diagrams and a series of explanatory statements recorded for the purpose by Dr. Beeching during the final weeks of his work on the report. 

The film was first used for briefing senior staff at B.R.B. Headquarters and in Regional Headquarters in a series of showings which took place two days before the publication of the report. On the day of publication it provided the core of the special B.B.C. Television programme, the greater part of the film being shown in sections, each followed by live discussion in the studio - with Dr. Beeching, union leaders and economists taking part. This combined film and television operation was described in The Observer as 'a masterpiece of public relations' and there can be no doubt that it contributed enormously to the number of reasonable and agreeable reactions which followed. 

A total of 85 16mm. copies and 12 35mm. copies of the film were also prepared for use in a country-wide series of staff screenings - timed to begin live days after publication of the report. 

Since, for maximum topicality, production work continued on the film up to the iast possible moment - and was immediately followed by a crash programme of copy printing in both gauges - a special burden was laid upon George Humphries Ltd. who met all their commitments with time to spare. The 35mm. prints were used in commercial cinemas hired for private staff screenings in the mornings. There was one audience of 1,600 in the cinema at Ashford and a total of 3,000 staff saw the film in the New Oxford A.B.C. in Manchester on 1st and 2nd April. The 16mm. copies were shown by British Transport Films on 123 machines located in various parts of the country together with their two rail borne cinema coaches and three daylight cinema vans which were hired for the job. B.T.F. also hired twelve additional mobile 16mm. units which worked around planned circuits and they used a pair of Moviematic projector cabinets in tours embracing such locations as works' canteens. It was reckoned that by the end of April the film was seen by 100,000 staff, and showings continued into May.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Simon Murphy, Curator, Film and Photographs at London Transport Museum has confirmed that London Transport Museum has licensed the LT part of the BTF output to the BFI and that volume 10 of the DVD series will be out later in the summer. All films are remastered and represent a considerable improvement in quality over the EAVB/Beulah discs, many of which were made from 1990s one-inch tape masters.


Here is the BFI blurb:



Following the nationalisation of transport in 1948, the British Transport Commission set up its own in-house film production unit. Launched on 1st May 1949, and led for 25 years by Edgar Anstey - a founding father of the British documentary movement - it became one of the largest industrial film units in Britain.

This, the tenth in a series of double DVD box sets, presents a selection of films covering both bus and underground that The BTF produced for London Transport in the post-war period and includes classic such as All that Mighty Heart, Under Night Streets, Overhaul, as well as rare gems like Power Signal Lineman and Our Canteens.

This selection has been digitally remastered for this two-disc set, which is a 'must' not just for the transport enthusiast, but also for the documentary aficionado who will recognise traits and innovations in British non-fiction filmmaking.


All that Mighty Heart (1951)
Our Canteens (1951)
One for One (1964)
Cine Gazette No.14: Do you Remember? (1955)
The Nine Road (1975)
London on the Move (1970)


Under Night Streets (1958)
Power Signal Lineman (1953)
Omnibus 150 (1979)
Cine Gazette No.10 (1951)
Moving London (1983)
AFC: Automatic Fare Collection and You (1969)
Overhaul (1957)

Special features:

Moving Millions (1947, 15 mins): A Central Office of Information film made by the Crown Film Unit in 1947 illustrating the scope of London Transport activities at their most extensive including bus, underground, trams and trolleybuses.

UK | 1947-1983 | black and white, and colour | 223 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1